|blind spot: hitler's secretary (2002)|
director: andre heller & othmar schmiderer
Attempting to work around the guilty consciences of his supporters, Adolf Hitler apparently told them not to worry - that he would take responsibility for everything done in the name of Germany under the Third Reich.
As recalled by his secretary, Traudl Junge, almost sixty years later, itís obvious that he did no such thing. Blind Spot is a record of the last time that Junge sat down to talk about her years spent at the very heart of Hitlerís awful regime, one of the few times that Junge, who died the night the film premiered in Berlin, consented to talk publicly about her experience.
Itís an austere, artless film, uninterested in entertaining an audience - there are no probing pans over old photos, or bits of archival footage. Junge sits in her Munich apartment, in front of the camera, and tells her story, smoking the odd cigarette to maintain her composure. Occasionally, sheís seen what looks like a few years later, watching herself, elaborating on points she felt were insufficiently explained. Thereís little here for anyone who isnít serious about trying to grasp the pitiless details of this gruesome, disheartening period of history.
Much of the film has Junge - an articulate, obviously haunted woman - describing her whirlwind memories of the last days in the bunker, where Hitlerís apocalyptic rhetoric had convinced everyone that, after his death, Germany would not survive. After his suicide, Junge is suddenly forced to see that he hadnít taken responsibility for his criminal regime, and his cowardice enrages her. But in the silence of the postwar years, having emerged from Russian and American imprisonment officially ďdenazifiedĒ, her guilt submerges itself.
Blind Spot is Jungeís final testament of that guilt, occasionally wrenching but perhaps not entirely convincing in spots. Pleading youth, naÔvetť and ignorance, as well as a lingering ďfather complexĒ, is ultimately an attempt to shrug off some of that burden, but it resonates deeply, especially as itís lately become obvious that war and guilt and dictators have not gone away, and that Europe, even sixty years later, is still deep in the shadow of Jungeís guilty conscience.